Private Robert John McClements


Robert John McClements was born on 23 May 1887 at Saint Margaret's, Aghadowey, County Londonderry, the second of at least five children of gardener (later coachman) Robert John McClements and his wife Isabella (née McKernan (or McKeeman)). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 43 Bonds Street, Londonderry, with his widowed mother and three of his siblings, and working as a shirt cutter in a factory.

McClements enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 December 1915 (regimental number unknown). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (McClements was issued regimental number 40893), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

McClements was later posted to the 11/13 Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (battalion formed on 13 November 1917). He was wounded, probably during the early phase of the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917.

Evacuated to the UK for treatment, on 2 September 1918 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations).